Boston — The ongoing digital revolution has the potential to disrupt the building and construction industry, bringing significant savings in time and cost, and perhaps superior quality as well, according to Lux Research. Technologies including advanced prefabrication, augmented reality, building information modeling (BIM) systems, and even automated construction are converging, representing an opportunity to automate and revolutionize the construction industry.

“Digital technology can not only improve construction, but change the industry structure as well,” said Arij van Berkel, Lux Research director and lead author of the report, The Industrial and Digital Revolution in Building and Construction. “A company that manages to create one coherent workflow using all of the digital developments together will seriously disrupt the construction industry and may well become the world’s first truly dominant construction multinational.”

Lux Research analysts studied diverse digital technologies applicable to the building and construction industry, and scored each on a dozen criteria. Among their findings:

  • Improvement in project development needed — To successfully disrupt construction, it is necessary to change the way projects are being developed in order to enable the construction process. Technologies, like BIM with project planning and pricing, that support integration of project development and execution will hold higher disruptive potential.
  • Prefab 2.0 helps advance automation — Technologies in advanced prefabrication, or prefab 2.0, take automation of project development tasks one step further by integrating it in the construction work itself. Building project planning and automated quotations on top of BIM results in a smooth transition between project development and project execution.
  • Building modules are only for large firms — Construction of container-sized, easy-to-ship building modules is a technology that advances automation but requires business innovation because of its large scale. It requires a large production facility, but for those able to make the investment the impact on integration will be great.